Local Atlanta news

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal speaks during a press conference, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2014, in Atlanta.
Branden Camp / Associated Press

Tuesday is the last day for Gov. Nathan Deal to act on legislation, and several bills still await action from him, including "campus carry" and measures that would mean big changes to the state's court system.

Deal has sent signals to Republican legislators he'll veto the campus carry bill they passed, said Brian Robinson, Deal's former deputy chief of staff. Right now, the bill would allow licensed gun holders to take guns on college campuses, except in student housing or at athletic events.

6 Atlanta Museums For Locals, Transplants And Visitors

Apr 29, 2016
Sara Hanna Photography

Atlanta has museums to satisfy everyone from the aspiring numismatist to the puppet fancier to the seasoned airplane pilot. Here are six museums to experience in Atlanta, whether you're a native, a transplant or just passing through:


Delta Flight Museum

The sky's the limit with this Atlanta museum. Delta Air Lines, which has had its headquarters in Atlanta since 1941, has been a major contributor to the city's reputation as an air transportation hub.


Chip Harlan / flickr.com/chippenziedeutch

Gwinnett County’s population will be more than a third Hispanic by 2040, according to recent forecasts by the Atlanta Regional Commission, a regional planning and intergovernmental agency.

Census figures show the county’s Hispanic population now is around 20 percent, but the commission projects that will rise to about 37 percent.

John Bazemore / Associated Press

It pains Nigerian princess Modupe Ozolua every time she hears about the suicide bombings, killings and kidnappings by the Boko Haram militant group in her ancestral homeland.

But Ozolua feels just as troubled when the plight of survivors dealing with the aftermath of the attacks goes unheard. The princess, a member of Benin Empire in southern Nigeria, doesn't want those victims to be forgotten.

The University of Georgia arch in Athens, Georgia on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. (Photo/Brenna Beech)
Brenna Beech / WABE

The mourning process continues at the University of Georgia.

Multiple vigils were held in the Athens area, including the UGA campus, to remember the victims who died in a two-vehicle accident in Oconee County on Wednesday night.

"The loss of any student is very difficult, a tragedy of this magnitude is truly devastating," said UGA President Jere Morehead, who has been at the university for more than 30 years.

The four victims are: Kayla Canedo, 19, of Alpharetta; Brittany Feldman, 20, of Alpharetta; Christina Semeria, 19, of Milton and Halle Scott, 19, of Dunwoody.

Alison Guillory / WABE

Stone Mountain Park officials say they're looking at ways to control public protests better, after a "pro-white" demonstration and counter-protests shut down part of the park last weekend.

John Bankhead, a spokesman for the Stone Mountain Park’s public safety department, said officials have been speaking with the state Attorney General’s office to explore options, but the park can only do so much because of First Amendment issues.

Fulton County Communications

Fulton County Chairman John Eaves said he wants to bring more venture capital investments to Fulton.

At his State of the County address Thursday, he outlined plans to create a “special technical advisory council” to help build on the tech industry that’s already established in Georgia.  

“This council will help make Fulton County more attractive for investments in technology companies and make South Fulton a destination for economic ingenuity,” he said.

David Goldman, File / AP Photo

Nearly 200,000 Georgia children have been separated from a parent due to incarceration, according to a new report released this week.

The report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation says 189,000 kids, or about 8 percent of the state's child population, have had a parent in jail or prison at some point in their childhood. The state’s average is slightly higher than the national average of 7 percent.

A Georgia couple is suing Snapchat, claiming that the social media app's "speed filter" tempted a woman to drive too fast and to cause a crash that injured the husband.

Media outlets report Wentworth and Karen Maynard filed a lawsuit in Spalding County State Court against Snapchat and the 18-year-old driver, Christal McGee.

Zip Line Courses Planned For 9 Georgia State Parks

Apr 28, 2016
flowcomm / www.flickr.com/flowcomm (cropped)

Visitors to Georgia state parks will soon have a new way to enjoy the outdoors, from hundreds of feet in the air.  

The Georgia Department of Natural Resources plans to install zip lines at nine state parks. 

Companies interested in managing the daily operations and maintaining the zip line courses will submit a bid to the state by this summer. Once the zip lines are up and running, Georgia will get a portion of the gross receipts.

Georgia executed a man Wednesday who was convicted in the 1998 killings of a central Georgia trucking company owner and his two children during a home burglary.

Daniel Anthony Lucas became the fifth person the state has executed this year. He was put to death by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital at the state prison in Jackson. Warden Bruce Chatman told witnesses the time of death was 9:54 p.m.

The University of Georgia is mourning the loss of four students killed in a vehicular accident.

"Heartbreaking and tragic."

Those are the words UGA President Jere Morehead used to describe Wednesday night's fatal crash near Watkinsville that killed four female UGA students.

Oconee County authorities say the accident happened when two vehicles collided on Georgia State Route 15.

The victims have been identified as: Kayla Canedo, 19, of Alpharetta; Brittany Feldman, 20, of Alpharetta; Christina Semeria, 19, of Milton; and Halle Scott, 19, of Dunwoody.

Molly Samuel / WABE

Fulton County Commission Chairman John Eaves will give his state of the county address Thursday, in which he'll talk about the future of Fulton. That evening the county is holding its last public meeting for residents of unincorporated south Fulton County to say what they'd like the future of their area to look like.

South Fulton is the only part of the county that still has unincorporated areas.   

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal waits to deliver his State of the State address on the House floor at the Capitol Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016, in Atlanta.
David Goldman / Associated Press

Gov. Nathan Deal said he'll decide next week what action to take on a "campus carry" bill that would allow weapons at public universities. 

He said there's no easy option.

“But I think that's one of the things that the governor is supposed to do is to make the hard choices, to not necessarily play the political game that may be associated with issues like this, but to do what's in the best interest in as many Georgians as possible.” 

DeKalb County ethics officer Stacey Kalberman, speaking with Denis O'Hayer in the WABE studios on April 26, 2016
Johnny Kauffman / WABE News

DeKalb County is trying to get past a string of ethics scandals in its government.

Suspended CEO Burrell Ellis has just finished a prison sentence on a corruption conviction, which he is still appealing; Commissioner Elaine Boyer was sentenced to 14 months in federal prison on fraud charges; and a string of other ethics lapses resulted in a report from special investigator Mike Bowers that called DeKalb's government culture "rotten to the core."

Brynn Anderson / Associated Press

On April 27, 2011, a series of tornadoes killed hundreds of people, injured thousands and reduced countless buildings to rubble across a swath of the U.S.

More than 120 tornadoes were reported that day — one of the deadliest outbreaks in the nation's history. Five years later, some survivors who are still rebuilding say their lives and towns will never be the same.

Casualties were reported in Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and Alabama — which was the hardest hit, with a death toll of more than 250 in that state alone.

In this Aug. 28, 1963 file photo, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, addresses marchers during his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
File / Associated Press

"Words cannot express how proud and humbled we are."

That's what Dr. Bernice King said in response to the U.S. Department of Treasury's decision to add her father's image to the backs of new $5 bills.

The front of the bill will still feature President Abraham Lincoln.

The Lincoln Memorial was the site of Dr. King's legendary "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963.

Georgia is preparing to execute a man Wednesday who killed a trucking company owner and his two children in 1998.

Daniel Anthony Lucas is scheduled to die by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital at 7 p.m. at the state prison in Jackson.

Lucas, 37, was sentenced to death for the April 1998 killings of 37-year-old Steven Moss, his 11-year-old son Bryan and 15-year-old daughter Kristin, who interrupted a burglary at their home near Macon.

Dave Martin / Associated Press

Animal rights groups are trying to block a permit allowing Yerkes National Primate Research Center to move eight of its chimpanzees abroad.

The coalition led by the New England Anti-Vivisection Society, or NEAVS, filed a lawsuit Monday asking a federal judge to overturn the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to grant the permit. 

Yerkes, which is part of Atlanta's Emory University, wants to donate the chimpanzees to Wingham Wildlife Park in England. The transfer is considered an export and requires a permit under the Endangered Species Act.  

Georgia is among the states affected by a major recall.


Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. has announced a recall of more than 4.5 million pounds of fully cooked chicken products.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports the food in question might be contaminated with materials like rubber, metal, plastic and wood.


A group of young people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children and who have been granted temporary permission to stay is asking a judge to order the Georgia university system to allow them to pay in-state tuition.

The university system requires students seeking in-state tuition to provide verification of "lawful presence" in the U.S. The Board of Regents, which governs the university system, has said students with temporary permission to stay under a 2012 program — known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA — don't meet that requirement.

Police officers who use deadly force will still have a special privilege allowing them to make a statement before a grand jury, but they'll have to answer questions and won't be allowed to sit through the entire proceeding under a bill Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law Tuesday.

Supporters of the new law said officers previously had an unfair advantage because they could listen to the prosecutor's case and make a statement at the end without facing any questioning.

Frank de Kleine / www.flickr.com/frankdekleine

Georgia can give state money to "pregnancy resource centers" that offer medical and other services to pregnant women while discouraging them from getting abortions, under legislation signed Tuesday by Republican Gov. Nathan Deal.

The measure's sponsor, Republican state Sen. Renee Unterman of Buford, described her bill as a "positive" response to videos released this summer by abortion opponents showing Planned Parenthood officials discussing procedures for obtaining tissue from aborted fetuses for research.

A Texas grand jury later cleared the organization of wrongdoing.

Fearing Snapchat could take an ugly turn toward "snap chomp," police are warning people not to take selfies with an alligator in suburban Atlanta.

Peachtree City police also advise residents not to feed the 6-foot gator known as "Flat Creek Floyd" as he soaks in the sun on Flat Creek, about 30 miles southwest of downtown Atlanta.

Peachtree City police Lt. Mark Brown tells WSB-TV that the gator's presence has "gone a little crazy" on social media.

Two Atlanta convenience store owners have pleaded guilty to illegally exchanging food stamps for millions of dollars.
U.S. Department of Agriculture via flickr.com / https://flic.kr/p/83r1Zc

Georgia may soon lift a ban on food stamps for convicted drug offenders after they are released, in an effort to keep them from returning to prison.

Gov. Nathan Deal plans to sign legislation Wednesday making the state opt out of a federal lifetime ban on food stamps for those convicted of a drug-related felony. While the federal program calls for stiff restrictions on felons, states are allowed to opt out of the ban.

Marietta Daily Journal, Kelly J. Huff, Pool / Associated Press


This is the third week of jury selection in the trial of  Justin Ross Harris, who is accused of purposely leaving his 22-month-old son, Cooper, to die in a hot car in 2014.

More than two dozen jurors have already qualified to hear the "hot car" death case.

Matthew McCoyd, a former district attorney of DeKalb County,  teaches a class on jury selection at Emory University.

He said the jury selection process is like the intersection of law and psychology and that it's also the only time the attorneys can talk to the jurors.  

Alison Guillory / WABE

On the shoulder lanes of the Georgia interstates, it’s hard to miss the bright yellow-and-orange trucks patrolling the highways and helping stranded motorists.

They’re part of the Georgia Department of Transportation's Highway Emergency Response Operator (HERO) unit.

But HERO assistant manager Andre Todd said many people confuse them for State Farm insurance trucks.

“They see State Farm, they say, ‘Well, you know what, I don’t have State Farm insurance, but I sure do appreciate it.’ We’re not State Farm, we’re GDOT,” Todd said.  

campus carry
Jaime Henry-White, File / Associated Press

With one week left for Gov. Nathan Deal to veto or sign a bill the “campus carry” bill, some faculty members have ramped up their efforts against the measure.

Ivan Ingermann, associate professor at the University of Georgia’s film and theater department, said he and many of his colleagues don’t want guns in their classrooms.

“We're saying it, we're just not being heard, and that's the frustrating part,” he said.

He said if the bill becomes law, he would seriously consider leaving the university if he gets another offer.

Updated 3:50 p.m. Tuesday

Lawyers for a Georgia death row inmate scheduled to die this week are asking a court to halt his execution, arguing the death penalty was inappropriate because of his youth and lack of maturity at the time of his crime.

Daniel Anthony Lucas is set to be put to death Wednesday at the state prison by injection of the barbiturate pentobarbital. He was 19 in April 1998 when he and another teen broke into a central Georgia home looking for cash or valuables to sell to buy drugs and killed a trucking company owner and his two children.

The History Behind Georgia’s Unnamed State Holidays

Apr 25, 2016
Michael Miley / Wikimedia

If you stopped by the State Capitol or a state government agency like the Department of Motor Vehicles on Monday, you probably found the doors locked. State offices were closed in observance of an unnamed state holiday.

The holiday was not always unnamed. It used to be called Confederate Memorial Day. Gov. Nathan Deal removed the day’s Civil War reference in an email to state employees last year.